Sheltering rules updated by Dallas City Council
Dallas’s City Council has once again updated rules regarding sheltering the homeless population. This change will be a welcome one that follows years of debate. Even then, it still isn’t exactly what some Dallas groups were looking for.
An update to the rule
On November 11th, City Council decided to update the rules for housing homeless residents overnight. The change will allow specific types of businesses to let the homeless stay overnight. Only specific, permitted businesses were allowed. Prior to the change, any business that was not on the list was given a fine or ticketed by the city.
According to DFW’s local NBC website, this all started when OurCalling let people in due to an impending extreme cold front. Almost two years ago now, this event caused quite a stir throughout the city. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center opened to the homeless that night. Unfortunately, the convention center did not have enough beds for everyone and many people were left out on the streets. OurCalling decided to take in many of those left without a warm place to sleep due to this. The next day, the business received a ticket for their kind actions. A faith-based organization, OurCalling is an outreach in the Cedars Neighborhood. It aims to aid the homeless and was only abiding by its mission. Businesses looking to help have fought since OurCalling’s stand to get this rule changed.
The coming winter
We at Air Conditioning Dallas are excited to see the change, especially with this rough winter coming up. It’ll be a difficult winter not only due to the cold, but also because of the pandemic. The rule change will allow churches and outreach organizations to house the homeless when emergency weather strikes. The caveat to the rule is that these businesses must be a half mile outside of Dallas’s financial district. Several of the city’s homeless residents stay in this downtown area, so it’s sure to displace many. It is still unsure whether or not the city will have enough beds to host the entire population.
OurCalling and other organizations like it plan to continue the fight. We have yet to see if Dallas City Council will make additional changes, but are hopeful they will. Regardless, this new change will allow many less-fortunate residents the opportunity to sleep somewhere warm this winter.
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